Brain Dead Serious

A Man Who Doesn’t Have Enough Space in His House for All His Existential Shit

DON: Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. This is Don Fernandez, your host for yet another edition of The Human Condition, bringing you the most striking interviews of common people you wouldn’t normally think about if you had something better to do. Tonight–Mr. Theodore Gonzalez–a man who doesn’t have enough space in his home for all his existential shit.

Mr. Theodore Gonzalez–can I call you Ted?

TED: Yeah. You can call me Ted.

DON: Ok Ted. You called us for this interview bec–

TED: You can call me whatever you want. I could be Ted or Theodore or Mike or Richard. In the end, who am I?

DON: Uh-huh… Yes, I see that this is part of the personal problem you’d like to discuss with our audiences today?

TED: Audiences? Oh, you mean those presumed subjects watching me through their TV sets? I wish I could be sure there were really existences behind those eyes fixed on the screen because frankly I highly doubt it.

DON: Oh… kay…

TED: Yeah, I mean, I’m not even sure you’re here. Are you here?

DON: Well, I think I’m definitely here. You’re looking at me, Ted.

TED: Am I? Or are you just part of a simulation run by highly advanced beings in the 31st century and I’m nothing but a character in their sick version of a video game?

DON: Ok, ok. Wait a minute. Let’s stop for a second here, Ted. We’re already getting ahead of ourselves. Can you please give our audiences a proper introduction to your issue? You said there’s not enough room in your house for all your existential shit.

TED: Yes, there’s none.

DON: Obviously.

TED: Yesterday, I tried to fit all my existential shit in a box but it wouldn’t fit.

DON: How so?

TED: Well, I was about to put all my existential shit into the box, which I found under my bed, but then while I was doing it, I realized… I couldn’t find the box.

DON: So… so the box disappeared?

TED: That’s the funny thing. When I thought about it… it dawned on me that the box wasn’t even there in the first place.

DON:

TED: You see, I placed the box on the floor. And when I did that, the box was clearly on our wooden tiled floor. But when I opened the box and gestured to dump all my existential shit in it… it… “Poof!”

DON: Poof?

TED: Poof!

DON: C-could you please clarify? It’s a little vague what you’re trying to say…

TED: The box melded into the floor. The floor melded into the box. I couldn’t see where the floor ended and the box started. See–what do you call a box, anyway, and what do you call a floor? You’re going to tell me a box has eight corners. It’s a three-dimensional object made up of two-dimensional squares. And the floor is something you step on and it’s sometimes wooden, sometimes ceramic, sometimes plastic. But what if I don’t agree with you? What if I told you the thing you call a floor is a rooster and the thing you call a box is a pig?

DON: What??

TED: They’re a rooster and a pig. I couldn’t fit all my existential shit in a pig.

DON: I am… I am completely lost.

TED: People have agreed on calling a floor a floor and a box a box but what if I don’t agree with them? I mean, there’s no real universal rule that limits me to that strict definition. If I wanted to call your floor a rooster and your box a pig, what would you do?

DON: I-I guess nothing?

TED: You are a really good actor, you know, for a simulation.

DON: I’m sorry? Like I told you, Ted, I am NOT a simulation. I am not fake. I am here. I am interviewing you about your existential shit that you can’t find room for in your home.

TED: Yes… Because my home is overrun with roosters and pigs.

DON: Ok… Let’s run with this… Maybe we could get somewhere here… If you really believe that your floor and your box is a rooster and a pig, then why not just scare them away to make room for all your existential shit?

TED: Because they didn’t share my language.

DON: You don’t need language to scare away a bunch of animals, Ted. Just wave your hands and make scary noises and they’ll go away.

TED: No, these roosters and pigs are speaking a fourth-dimensional language that my three-dimensional ears couldn’t possibly hear. These things-in-themselves are forever out of my grasp, clucking and oinking behind a veil of reality that I couldn’t pierce… There’s a whole farm of there out there, Don. An invisible farm.

DON: Please… please stop.

TED: It’s not for lack of trying on my part, too. This morning I tried to store all my existential shit in a spare room in the basement. It’s pretty expansive. Even my old motorcycle is in there, so…

DON: So that must be enough space for your obviously huge existential shit, right?

TED: Nah.

DON: Dare I ask why?

TED: Because my motorcycle has turned into a blue whale.

DON: Goddammit.

TED: I couldn’t even step into the freakin’ room. This monstrous blue whale was squirming and spewing water all over the floor–I mean this floor made of pigs–and all the boxes–I mean roosters holding all my other junk–were really wet.

So in the end, it wouldn’t fit even there. Nasty business. I actually just sold the house this morning.

DON: Please don’t tell me why.

TED: Because when I tried to just leave all my existential shit there on the living room pig-floor, the walls became a troop of baboons, the carpet turned into Albert Einstein’s poop, and the sofa revealed itself to be none other than Michael Jackson.

DON: *Breathes heavily*

TED: So as much as I loved that property, having spent so many lovely days there with my ex-wife, I just had to sell that shit to the first man I met on the street. For chump change, mind you. I mean, shit, what would he do with all that racket at night? Pigs, roosters, baboons, and Michael Jackson trying to wake up the neighbors. Not to mention he’ll definitely step on Albert Einstein’s poop the next morning, slip, and maybe even injure himself. Hah. Poor guy.

DON:

TED: And to your audiences, I say screw you, you pieces of 31st century codes and pixels! You ain’t fooling me! Can you hear me out there in the real world, you 31st century alien bastards?! Screw you and your mothers or wherever the hell Big Bang conspiracy bullshit you came from! I never bought into this spacetime propaganda you’ve been trying to drill in my head! Science ain’t true knowledge! Wormholes and strings and multiverse my ass, you sons of big bang bitches! I think therefore, I am!

DON: I’m afraid we have to cut our program short again for tonight. ‘Til next time. This is Don Fernandez, host of The Human Condition, saying goodnight and good luck.

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Brain Dead Serious

A Man Who Can’t Shake the Feeling that People Around Him Can Tell He’s Dying Slowly

DON: Good evening. This is Don Fernandez, your host for another edition of The Human Condition, bringing you the most striking interviews of common people you wouldn’t normally think about if you had something better to do. Tonight–Mr. Felix Castaneda–a man who can’t shake the feeling that people around him can tell he’s dying slowly.

Mr. Castaneda–can I call you Felix?

FELIX: Sure, sure. Please call me Felix.

DON: Felix. You called us for this interview to say that you have a suspicion that people around you can tell you are dying slowly. Is that correct?

FELIX: Yes, yes. Correct. I think it’s pretty obvious that they know I am dying slowly, right this very moment.

DON: And pray tell what makes you think that?

FELIX: Well, for the most part, I just feel it. But something happened that made me confirm without a shadow of a doubt my deepest suspicions. See, the other night, I was walking toward the train platform and was panting really hard because the stairs were so high, and I almost ran into this man who stared at me as if he was looking down on my coffin slowly being lowered six feet into the ground. Like he was ready to throw flowers down on me and getting ready to stomp the fresh earth above my grave after listening to my eulogy and disrespecting the priest.

DON: I see. That is quite a detailed and descriptive way of interpreting a stranger’s single look. Or glance. How long did he actually take a look at you anyway?

FELIX: Uhm, about 2 or 3 seconds…

DON: 3 seconds?

FELIX: Uhm. More like 2…

DON: 2?

FELIX: Probably 1.5…

DON: 1.5? You can tell all that from a stranger looking at you in just 1.5 seconds?

FELIX: Yes. And I can tell he didn’t feel too sorry for me, too. Like he was glad I’m dying. Like he was blaming me for all the wrong choices I’ve made in my life. That I never took great care of my dogs. That I married this woman who really didn’t love me but whom I only got pregnant on a particularly drunken night when I got retrenched from my first job. And I could also see it in his eyes that he condemned me for all those years I failed to go to church even after secretly believing in God again because atheism didn’t seem to be that cool anymore after college. Especially when I was accumulating all sorts of terminal illnesses–

DON: Wait, wait. Felix. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. I’m sure that guy never really thought of any of that because he only looked at you for more than a second.

FELIX: 1.5 seconds.

DON: Yes, 1.5. I mean, if he were looking at you for like, I don’t know, 5 or 6 seconds perhaps… he might have actually shown you something more tangible.

FELIX: That’s jumping to conclusions.

DON:

I’m sorry. What did you say?

FELIX: I said you’re jumping to conclusions.

DON: That’s… Felix, can I please remind you that it was you who got this crazy idea that a random stranger on a train station thought you’re dying slowly because he looked–glanced–at you for 1.5 seconds.

FELIX: Correct.

DON: And that I was only positing the possibility that you might be incorrect because such a time span is too short. But maybe–just maybe, 5 or 6 seconds of looking could be more, er, revealing.

FELIX:

You’re jumping to conclusions.

DON: Wha–I can’t believe this.

FELIX: You should check your facts.

DON: I can’t even… Jesus. Anyway…

You mentioned you were actually accumulating terminal diseases. How long exactly have you got to live?

FELIX: Uhm, let’s see… If I take that into account… and that… and that one.. my rough estimate is 3 months.

DON: 3 months? YOUR rough estimate? What does your doctor say?

FELIX: I’m sorry. Whose doctor?

DON: Your doctor.

FELIX: I don’t have a doctor.

DON: You don’t have a doctor. So this is just you estimating that you’ll only live for 3 more months.

FELIX: Hmm. Actually I just remembered that other thing… so it’s more like 1.5 months.

DON: 1.5. Why am I not surprised?

FELIX: I don’t know. Should you be?

DON: I don’t think so. Ok, let’s discuss that. So according to YOUR estimate, you only have 1.5 months more to live…

FELIX: Yes.

DON: And what illnesses are causing you to die right this very moment such that you’ll surely be gone in 1.5 months?

FELIX: Oh, you know, the laundry list. Cancer, HIV AIDS, advanced heart disease, ebola, the bubonic plague–

DON: And I assume all these diseases weren’t actually diagnosed by a doctor, but were actually just… conjured by you one morning while you were, I don’t know, sipping a cup of coffee in your porch?

FELIX: How did you know that? That’s amazing!

DON: Frankly I’m not surprised. Because I think in addition to all these terminal illnesses, you also have a mental problem.

FELIX: Why now… that’s unsubstantiated!

DON:

FELIX: That’s plain preposterous! Why would you wish something as serious as a mental illness on someone?

DON:

FELIX: You think just because you’re a popular reporter with your own TV program that you can just barge into someone’s life and tell them what’s wrong about them? How could you? And my god–actually accusing someone of mental illness! There are thousands of people who actually suffer from mind diseases, you know. You should try to be more sensitive about the things you say. It’s 2015, people have got to learn to respect their fellowmen…

DON: I’m afraid we have to cut our program short for tonight. ‘Til next time. This is Don Fernandez, host of The Human Condition, saying goodnight and good luck.

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